When our CSA box arrived this week with a lovely batch of Early Girls, our first tomatoes of the season, I was delighted.
What to make with these beauties? Since early-season tomatoes sometimes need a little flavor help, I decided to forgo my favorite simpler tomato presentations (caprese salad, or just sliced with a little salt and eaten by the forkful) until we see some later-season heirlooms. With this batch, I experimented with tomato confit, since we had a beautiful bunch of basil and an onion to play with, too.
Served atop a bed of whole wheat rigatoni and finished with a sprinkle of parmesan, it was delightful, and super-simple to make. Oh, tomato season, how I love you! And it’s only just begun…
Pasta with Tomato, Basil, and Onion Confit
Based on a recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
6 (or more) tomatoes
1 small onion, halved and sliced.
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pasta (such as angel hair or spaghetti)**
Preheat the oven to 350. Peel* and core the tomatoes.Arrange a bed of basil leaves in an oven-safe dish just big enough to fit the tomatoes. Spread the onion slices over the basil, and arrange the tomatoes, cored side down, over the onions. Add enough olive oil to come about halfway up the sides of the tomatoes in the dish. Bake for about an hour and a half, or until very fragrant
* Generally, I would do this by scoring the bottom of the tomatoes, immersing them in boiling water for a few seconds, then immersing them in a an ice bath to make them easy to peel. This time, however, I forgot I was supposed to peel the tomatoes until after I had already cored them, so I tried a fruit peeler. It was a little fussier, but worked like a charm!
** Any kind of pasta will work. I had some refrigerated whole wheat rigatoni that had been slated for a different meal that I didn’t end up making, so I used it and it was lovely. A thinner pasta would do a better job of soaking up the sauce, though.